I’ve always been a goals-oriented kinda girl. For me, there’s nothing quite like striking a couple of things off my to-do list, or finishing a day knowing that I had been extra productive. It’s just so deliciously satisfying for someone motivated by accomplishing things. I find myself energised when talking to my friends about how we can grow as individuals and achieve all the things we want to do with our lives. So I’ve put together a list of some routines and habits which help me increase my productivity, hopefully it’s useful for you too!
1. Clear Your Mind
Starting the morning with a clear mind has such a huge impact on how my day unfolds. Often, I find my mind abuzz thinking about everything except for the present moment, and unsurprisingly, it makes it hard to focus on the task at hand. Something as simple as a 10 minute breathing / meditation exercise can help clear some brain fog, and I find that afterwards, I approach my tasks more calmly and with resolve. Headspace is an app I use which has a free series of 10 minute meditation exercises.
2. Prioritise your tasks
Do you have a never-ending to-do list? Ever feel overwhelmed with all the things you need to do, but not know where to start? This was something I battled with every day, until my friend Liz introduced me to her way of prioritising tasks. I used to write all the things I needed to do in my ‘notes’ or iCal, but would feel at a loss every time I looked at this never ending list. I realised how useful it was to look at my week ahead and delegate the things I needed to get done in order of priority. This really helped me with the feeling of being overwhelmed, and it gave me a tangible and methodical way of viewing my week ahead.
3. Eliminate Distraction
Giving 100% of my attention to something is difficult when there are so many distractions around. Whether it is my phone buzzing or the sound of the TV in the background, I find that my attention is always looking to be diverted. I love to have my phone on do not disturb mode; switching to silent mode isn’t enough for me, the sound of my phone vibrating is just as distracting as the sound of a notification! I personally don’t do well with listening to music that I’m familiar with when I’m working, as I find myself unwittingly singing along and not thinking about what I’m actually supposed to be doing!
4. Separate work space from rest space
I tend to get cabin fever when I stay inside my place for too long. I love a change of scenery, and I often take my laptop to a cafe (any excuse to have good coffee) to get some work done. I look for places that aren’t too noisy and with lots of natural light. Also, I find that I rest better at home when I’m able to mentally compartmentalise my areas of rest and work.
5. Switch off when your day is done
I find it so important to properly switch off when my tasks for the day are completed. I often struggle with this as I work on a flexible schedule and have no office to go to, with no set hours to work. Sometimes I’ll catch myself at 10pm working on a blog post and feeling guilty when I call it a day, knowing that I that there’s more work to be done. But the thing is, our tasks are infinite and if you don’t have an off switch, you’ll end up burning out. I like to allocate time for specific tasks during the day, and stick to my self-implemented schedule. Once I’m done, I switch my phone to airplane mode to truly disconnect, without having to worry about notifications until the next morning.